A message from the coordinator
Diana Norton, RN, MSN
Commission and Continuing Education
Oregon is one of the few states to have a Pain Management Commission, if not the only one. I often receive calls wanting to know more about this group and thought this would be a good opportunity to share some information.
The Legislature created the Oregon Pain Management Commission in 2001. The Commission is a diverse group of 17 appointed members and two ex-officio legislators. They represent various health care professions and the public, and come from different areas of the state. These volunteers gather in Salem for a meeting every other month. All members have a strong interest in the advancement of pain management for Oregonians with chronic pain conditions.
One of the commission's tasks is to advocate for individuals with pain through education and legislative policy. One of the commission's early actions was to write and introduce a bill that requires most health care professionals to complete additional education in pain management. The bill passed several years ago. This requirement currently applies to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors, psychologists, acupuncturists and pharmacists.
Because pain management may best be treated through a multi-disciplinary approach, another bill currently being considered during this legislative session would add physical therapists, occupational therapists and dentists to the list of professionals required to complete the additional education.
Part of the continuing education requirement consists of an online slide presentation developed by the commission. This presentation contains comprehensive information on pain management for the health professional, but it was not until recently that I learned it may also benefit patients with pain conditions. Commission member Christy Vail shared how the presentation helped someone she knows. Christy writes:
A few months back a colleague was telling me about her elderly mother, who suffers from a variety of health issues. None of them are immediately terminal on their own, but none are curable either. She was however, in constant pain. My colleague’ s largest concern was keeping her mother comfortable during her final years, but her desire for pain management through medication was met with resistance by her mother’s physicians. I told her about my participation on the Oregon Pain Management Commission and gave the link to the online training at the commission’s website. I warned her that the first few slides may contain too much medical jargon for a layperson, but to stick with it and get to the information in the middle.
Not long after, my colleague called to thank me for directing her to the information from the Pain Management Commission. She said she went through the slides prior to her mother’s last doctor visit, and arrived at the appointment armed with lots of new information and a better understanding of her physician’s perspective. She said that after a discussion with the doctor, the treatment of her mother’s pain was changed, and the difference in her mother has been incredible. In addition, as a result of her mother feeling better each day, the rest of the family is no longer dealing with the anxiety and guilt they felt about her quality of life.
Certainly the commission was pleased that this educational material found use by an unintended audience and hopes it will continue to serve individuals in this way. The pain management presentation has now been viewed by over 12,000 health care professionals. While that's only a fraction of the total audience, it has been a positive step forward in raising awareness and promoting advancement in pain management.
The Pain Management Commission is currently gearing up to launch a statewide survey of Oregonians with chronic pain regarding the care and services they receive. This survey will provide some much needed information about the status of pain management in Oregon.
In the meantime, the online presentation and other information about the commission and its activities is on the commission's Web site.
The commission meets the second Thursday of odd numbered months. The public is always welcomed. If you're interested, please review the schedule, agendas and minutes also posted on the commission's Web site.